Think You’re a Mosquito Magnet? It Might Be Your Genes

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On our website, we’ve covered a lot of different ways to repel, kill, and get rid of mosquitoes. You can use things like mosquito repellents, traps, and, of course, mosquito foggers. In our article on what attracts mosquitoes, we already established that things like dark clothing, sweat, body odor, perfume, and beauty products are a big mosquito lure. But, a new study has shown that your genes might be also one of the reasons mosquitoes favor you over the person next to you.

A new study by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine was just released. It concluded that the likelihood of a mosquito biting you could be down to your genes. This is the first time any research has found actual evidence that there might be a genetic component involved. Our genes are one of the things that control our body odor, which is one of the biggest things that lure mosquitoes.

The Study

This study was based on previous research that studied attractiveness to insects based on differences in body odor. They determined that genetics might be at fault because it’s what controls body odor. This study was also based on the fact that female mosquitoes prefer the smell of certain people based on the body odor they produce. They fly more towards these people, biting them instead of those who have less-attractive body odors.

In the study itself, they used 18 sets of identical and 19 sets of non-identical female twins. The scientists released Aedes aegypti mosquitoes into a Y-shaped tube, which divided into two sections. Study participants placed their hands at the end of each of these two sections. Then, the mosquitoes flew towards the twin that seemed more attractive to them. The total number of mosquitoes each twin attracted also determined which twins were more attractive to mosquitoes.

The results showed that identical twins were similarly attractive to mosquitoes. The non-identical twin pairs, on the other hand, showed a larger difference in their attractiveness to mosquitoes.

twins mosquito study

Source: The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

What It Means

With time, this kind of study could allow researchers to better understand mosquitoes. They could determine what attracts mosquitoes to develop better ways to control and repel them. This would also help to control the diseases they carry and decrease the number of people that mosquito-borne diseases affect.

These kinds of studies might be the key to creating more effective mosquito repellents that can keep us safe from mosquito bites once and for all. By creating more efficient mosquito repellents that eliminate the smells or components of our body odor that attract the mosquitoes, they could remove the reason mosquitoes fly towards particular people in the first place.

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